You might think a virtual meeting with 27 faces sharing a screen would be chaotic, at best.
Keep thinking. It went great.
Level Green Landscaping recently hosted a virtual “lunch and learn“ event with property management company Legum & Norman.
It was a great way to introduce ourselves to the company and offer a fascinating educational topic: how climate change is affecting the landscape and turf industry.
The virtual lunch and learn was a big hit, says Gabriel Hammond, director of corporate programs for Legum & Norman.
“People were curious and intrigued,” Hammond says. He laughs. “They wondered, ‘How will they do lunch?’”
Not to worry. Level Green sent each participant a GrubHub gift card to order lunch at their leisure.
That was a nice touch, Hammond says. In fact, the whole experience was surprisingly great.
“We do a lot of lunch and learns with our vendors, always in person at our training center,” he says. “But having one in this way was so clever. I think it was more successful than our previous lunch and learns.”
“We Had Never Heard Anything Like This”
“We manage properties all over DC, Maryland, and Virginia, so many of our on-site managers can’t attend most lunch and learns,” Hammond says. “They have to leave their jobs in the middle of the day for two hours, by the time you add the driving time.
“This time, all they had to do was log in and join online. That was very beneficial for managers who don’t typically get to attend.”
Property managers loved the climate change topic, Hammond says.
“Most landscaping companies offer the usual topics — how to bid on a landscaping contract, what plants are good for our area, things like that,” he says.
He discovered the topic in a blog post on the Level Green web site and was intrigued.
“We had never heard anything like this,” Hammond says. “It was so interesting.”
The only drawbacks were a couple technical glitches with the presentation, Hammond says.
Hammond says the experience went so well, he’ll be incorporating more virtual lunch and learns in the future.
“Maybe we’ll do a hybrid,” he says. “We’ll have a lunch and learn at our office, but broadcast it, so others can join in from wherever they are.”
The Beauty of a Virtual Meeting
The event’s success is great news for Michael Mayberry, chief technology officer for Level Green, who sees virtual meetings as a key part of the landscaping business moving forward.
“You’re still creating a person-to-person connection, despite the distance,” Mayberry says. “On a phone call or conference call, you can’t see peoples’ facial expressions.”
You can’t beat the convenience.
“You don’t have to drive anywhere,” Mayberry says. “A virtual meeting doesn’t take nearly as much time, and it fits the client’s schedule. You don’t have to block out two hours for a half-hour meeting. You just have to block out a half hour.”
Virtual meetings work for a host of purposes, Mayberry says, from discussing contract proposals to pitching enhancement ideas to just checking in with customers to see how things are going.
“You can talk about anything you’d talk about in person,” Mayberry says.
Pro Tips From the Tech Guy
A couple tips from Mayberry make these virtual meetings go smoothly:
- It helps to have more than one monitor, so you can watch a presentation on one screen and see the faces of fellow participants on the other.
- If you’re not using a laptop, which has a built-in camera, invest in a camera for your desktop computer, which costs about $35. “If four people are on a call, but only three are on camera, you forget that fourth person is there,” Mayberry says. “A virtual meeting loses value if everybody doesn’t participate.”
Don’t forget the value of networking — another great use for a virtual gathering.
Don’t Mind My Dog…
A virtual meeting can be just as personal as an in-person gathering, Mayberry says.
Sometimes even moreso, when participants get a glimpse into their colleagues’ homes and maybe even meet their interloping pets.
“Everyone has things around them that are reflections of themselves,” he says. “You’re allowing people to come into your life a little bit.”
Hop on a Virtual Meeting with Level Green
As much as we love seeing our customers in person, that’s not always convenient.
Feel free to chat us up at a virtual meeting. You’ll get the information you need, and we’ll still get to see your smiling face.
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers.
Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to set up a virtual meeting.
We’d love to hear from you.
Image sources: video call illustration